Sunday, February 27, 2005


We did get an opportunity for an afternoon paddle. John and Jo have a house
right on the water. We launched into the gulf, paddled way out from shore,
rode the swells back in, and discovered that at high-tide, we could paddle
right up the little channel into Lake Caroline. We paddled from the ocean,
around the sand bar, under the road, up the stream, and right into the lake!
This quiet little lake with a kingfisher chattering from his perch. He
never stopped chattering, he just changed the perch he chattered from each
time we got too close. What a nice place to go for a drift.

Thanks John.


Here is the park we stayed in for the week. Check out the access road. The
entire thing is done in those pavers.


We're gone from Florida now, but we found a really nice park in the western
end when we first got there.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana. A good start. We're on our way
back to Colorado. Two thousand miles from Panama City Beach to Montrose.
Job starts on Thursday. Five days to get there. Just right.

We finished today Lafayette, Louisiana. We'll have to decide tomorrow
morning whether we want to go the most direct route, north on Interstate 49
to Shreveport, east on Interstate 20 through Dallas, north on Interstate 35
to Oklahoma City, and west on Interstate 40 to Albuquerque then Montrose, or
take a more southerly route, continuing on Interstate 10 for about another
four thousand miles, through Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso, then north
on Interstate 25 to Albuquerque then Montrose. At any rate, we should end
up in Montrose by Wednesday afternoon.

It's interesting how different things are important in different states.
Across Interstate 10, it's important to post that the rest areas have
security provided. Some nighttime. Some 24 hours. You don't get that just

And Florida. Florida posts that reminder sign after every rest area. You
know the one. The sign that reminds you to turn on your windshield wipers
if it's raining. That makes Florida special. Florida cares about us.
Florida cares enough to make sure we can see while we're driving in the
rain. I don't see any other states making that effort. The other states
just don't care as much as Florida does.

It has been months since the last hurricane, maybe five. There is still
plenty of visible damage though. Blue roofs. Trees all in a jumble. The
roof companies must go out and cover up every ruined roof with blue plastic,
nice and neat, to contain the damage until they can get back to it to fix it
right. Blue roofs. Whole neighborhoods of blue roofs.

Maybe there is always hurricane damage remaining along the Gulf Coast.
Perhaps there is always another hurricane before they finish cleaning up
from the last one.

Friday, February 25, 2005


When we were kids, teenagers, Judy and I used to lie next to each other on
the beach, close enough to touch, talking about what we were going to do
when we grew up. Now, lying next to each other in bed in the morning, close
enough to touch, talking. We're still working on it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


It is not cold here, but, still, we have more humidity than degrees.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Interesting diversion in Florida. We were almost to Panama City Beach, and
driving highways instead of freeways. Driving a fast highway with cross
streets. We didn't actually see the crash, we were the third to roll up
after it happened. A pickup truck pulled out in front of a minivan. The
truck got flipped around and ended up in the median. The lady in the
minivan got beat up by the airbag. We stayed and comforted the wounded
until police and paramedics arrived. Thanks to seat belts and airbags, it
was messy, but it wasn't very bloody. Property damage but not much personal

Did I explain why we're here? It's a Colorado audit. I'm a Colorado CPA.
We're in Florida. The nonprofit organization is a Colorado Corporation.
They also have some activity in Florida. They work in both Colorado and
Florida. They tend to spend more time in Florida than in Colorado in the
winter. Go figure. It's February. Busy season. We wouldn't take a
vacation and go to Florida in February, but a trip to Florida in the line of
duty? Fine with us. A week in Florida. A warm week.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


We didn't plan our route. We put the destination in the GPS navigator on
the computer. From there, we followed the force. It picked a route we'd
never driven before. All the way east into Illinois before we turned south
to get to Florida. We trusted it to get us through Saint Louis. Difficult
highway changes, but it worked flawlessly. It guided us through Illinois to
Western Kentucky and on to Tennessee. South through Nashville required a
few turns as well. It worked.

Western Illinois looked a lot like Louisiana. Flat and wet. Looking
through the forest along the road, the trees are all in standing water.
Water where water isn't supposed to be. There are crossings for the smaller
rivers, but we can't see them. We can't tell where the rivers begin and
end. It all looks the same. Until we get to the big rivers.

The big rivers are really big. Wide and flat like a lake. I have to wonder
how they get any flow at all. We have an elevation of three hundred feet
here. We're still seven hundred miles from the Gulf. A one foot drop every
two miles? That's a lake. That's the everglades! How do you have a river
that doesn't drop?

Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee. Flat Stanley crossed the Missouri
River, the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and the Cumberland, all in
one day. Big rivers. We particularly like the Cumberland River. When Judy
and I were first married and we lived in Tennessee, we were close to the
Cumberland River. It is such a winding river. It didn't matter which
direction we drove, we always ended up crossing the Cumberland.

We did the slow crawl through Illinois. Illinois has a speed limit of
sixty-five on the freeways, but they make an exception for trucks and
motorhomes. Fifty-five. Being comfortable with seventy-five on the open
roads, fifty-five feels like a crawl. But the trucks were all being careful
with the speed limit, so they must take it seriously in Illinois. We picked
a truck to follow and drove slow all the way through.

Next day, Alabama and Florida.


We left Colorado in a light snow. Drove through Kansas. Big raptor day.
Big raptors. We're not very good at identifying hawks from the freeway.
Here is how our raptor-from-the-freeway identification process goes:

"I see a red-tailed hawk."
"That one over there is not a red tail."
"Look at that one. I can't tell whether it's a red tail or not."

That's pretty much it.

Western Kansas has a lot in common with Eastern Colorado. Wide open. Flat.
The eastern half of Kansas is rolling hills and forests. Next day,
Missouri. Missouri, more of the same. We're in Missouri. We're in the
south. We were in the west. We drove straight east for two days, and now
we're in the south. Go figure.

Tomorrow we'll turn right and drive for two days. Then, I guess, we'll be
in the really really south.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


The commute. Thirteen miles along the front-range from Dakota Ridge in
Golden to highway 285. A dive to the west, through the foothills. A
winding canyon road. It opens up at Indian Hills and Tiny Town and goes
faster. Thirteen miles to Conifer. The road gets smaller after that. Two
lanes most of the time. Through Shaffer crossing to Pine junction. Dark
evergreens. Firs. Spruce. Bare aspens. Snowy white marshmallow meadows.
A decrepit mountain cemetery visible from the road. Deer creek. A view of
the inner ranges. An enticing glimpse up a side canyon. On to the top of
Crow Hill and the long winding 7% grade down for two miles that ends with a
hard right right into the town of Bailey. Bailey Colorado. All five blocks
of it. Thirty-nine miles altogether. Altogether, not a bad commute at all.
And every afternoon, on the drive home, I get to look at the other side of

It's a new client in Bailey. A domestic violence residential facility in
the mountains. Got a nice surprise when we showed up. Cyndi Rodgers. She
used to be the bookkeeper at the Mountain Resource Center in Conifer until
she had to resign to get Leukemia treatment. Cyndi is the bookkeeper for
the Bailey Client now. She's back in business. She just passed her
five-year cancer anniversary. Go Cyndi!

Perfect Colorado winter weather. It snowed before we got here. A week of
blue skies and fifty degrees.

Time to move on.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Did I tell you about my career as a smoke jumper? It was brief. I had a
plan. It made sense. I always wanted to be a forest ranger. After high
school, I would join the army paratroopers. I would learn to jump, then
when I got out I could join the forest service and be a smoke jumper. I was
going to be a smoke jumper.

I forgot. Years later, after I was out of the Army, after I was an
accountant, working in Denver, on a job in Montana, I drove past the smoke
jumper school at Missoula and it struck me. I was going to be a smoke
jumper! But I forgot! I came back from overseas, got married, got out of
the army and went on with my life. A life that didn't include

Thursday, February 10, 2005


West? Did I say west to Denver? I meant east to Denver. It is east from
Edwards to Denver.

Since the Montrose job rescheduled, we got an extra three days in the office
we didn't expect. It gave us a chance for catch-up. Time for a good family
fix with kids and grandkids. Time in the office to finish up 2004
record-keeping so I can file the business tax return. Time to do a little
repair and maintenance on ourselves. Got follow-up blood tests to see how
we're doing with the cholesterol medication. The results are good, but I
still don't like the statin drug. I haven't figured out a viable
alternative, though, so we're both still taking the medicine. Got my sore
knee looked at. Good knee news. They don't have to go in to fix it. It's
a structural/alignment issue they think they can fix with some external

We got up in the morning. I checked the thermometers. We have that cool
wireless digital thermometer It was snowing outside, but it wasn't that
cold. Nothing alarming. We've been having trouble getting the refrigerator
temperature just right, so we have one of the remote sensors in the
refrigerator too. The refrigerator was alarming! It was way too cold in
the refrigerator. Until I realized that I was mixed up on which sensor I
was reading. How bad is that when you mistake the refrigerator temperature
for the outside temperature?

Saturday, February 5, 2005


Wow. That was warm! Last night in Golden was warmer than our high
temperatures all last week. We didn't even freeze.

Friday, February 4, 2005


That week went well. Started the job on Monday. Finished on Friday. A
very big, very nice day care/preschool/pre-kindergarten in Edwards. A good
place to work. Good weather. Lots of blue skies. No wind. A little on
the cold side, but we were living pretty well without fahrenheits by the end
of the week.

When you're making your way through really cold weather in a motorhome, you
risk damage to it if you pile more blankets on the bed to keep from getting
cold. You can't be a minimalist. Don't try to conserve propane. You can't
get through it by putting more blankets on the bed; you have to take
blankets off the bed. You have to just suck it up and turn up the
thermostat. Let the furnaces run. The colder it gets outside, the warmer
you have to keep it inside to make sure things don't freeze. Early in the
week, we left the furnaces turned down and put on more clothes. We were
cold all evening in the living room and the water lines froze during the
night. They thawed out after a few hours the next day, but we don't want to
do that very often. By the end of the week, we turned the heaters up a
couple notches in the evening and we weren't cold in the living room at all.
We left the heaters on at seventy degrees all night and took a blanket off
the bed. It worked. At zero degrees outside, we were comfortable all night
and the water worked fine in the morning.

Finished up in Edwards, headed west, and settled in at Dakota Ridge in
Golden by five o'clock. A two-hour drive. We were supposed to head for
Montrose on the western slope, but that job got delayed. We'll have to go
to Montrose some other time. The next job is in Bailey, starting the middle
of next week. I can reach that one from here, and there isn't another
motorhome park any closer, so we'll stay at Dakota Ridge for about ten days.
Big trip coming up after that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005


Highs in the thirties. Single digit lows.

Bill, remember backpacking? You could carry a three-season tent or a
four-season tent. We always used three-season tents. Four-season tents
cost more, and were heavier to carry, but they were designed to accommodate
winter conditions. We chose not to backpack in winter conditions.

I think we're driving a three-season tent. Motorhomes are perfect for three
out of the four seasons, but winter is a stretch. We have furnaces, and we
can keep warm, but it's not like being in a house. There is some insulation
in the walls, and maybe in the floor, and all the windows are double pane
except the windshield, but there are drafts. When I sit at the dinette
table to work, my feet are in the slideout section. I don't think the floor
of the living room slide is insulated.

I don't know if the winter weather issues can be solved by spending more
money on the motorhome. We talked to the guy in the Prevost and he was
complaining about the cold and drafts. He spent a million dollars on his
motorhome and still thinks it is drafty in the cold! Imagine that.

Know what else? Small price to pay for what we get. We'll get through the
winter with the three-season tent just fine.

The job is going well.